Big Foot, Brodhead, East Troy one win away from state volleyball
When McFarland blocked Amy Schryver’s attempted spike, it felt like the Spartans might regain momentum in a back-and-forth battle with Big Foot.
Instead, Chiefs senior captain Mackenzie Long reacted quickly, returning the blocked ball back over the net to stun McFarland.
It was part of a six-point run—with Long serving—that helped the Chiefs finally relax and build a second-set lead after losing the first. They settled in and took the next three sets to move within one victory of a trip to the WIAA state volleyball tournament, winning the sectional semifinal 22-25, 25-21, 25-18, 25-18 on Thursday night.
“We were a little tight coming into it, but we got the nerves out and knew we had to come back strong,” Long said. “At that point, I think a lot of us were thinking, ‘We’re not letting the ball touch the floor.’
“When that ball went over, I was like, ‘Whew, OK,’ and you kind of relax and keep going with it.”
Big Foot will take on Madison Edgewood at 7 p.m. on Saturday, at McFarland, with a state berth on the line.
Long, a Saint Louis University recruit, spearheaded the Chiefs’ solid defensive effort, piling up 36 digs to go along with 29 more from freshman Kennedy Hehr.
For a while, however, the Chiefs had head coach Jen Koplitz a bit nervous. They trailed for nearly the entire first set thanks to six service errors, and the second set was tied 13-13 midway through.
“We were just so tight, and we couldn’t find the court—we were a foot out every time,” Koplitz said.
Big Foot took a 14-13 lead after it appeared McFarland’s kill would give it the lead. The officials ruled, however, that the Spartans’ libero had finger-tip set the ball in front of the 10-foot line, a violation that awarded the point to the Chiefs.
It was 15-14 when Long took the serve and stretched the lead to eight.
“Mackenzie served tough, and her defense tonight was spot on,” Koplitz said. “They tried to serve at Kennedy, a freshman, and she did a great job. Then we were just able to spread the ball around later on.”
The third set was tied 14-14 when Big Foot put together a four-point run. That included one play where Hehr’s dig attempt sailed toward the bleachers, but Long kept it alive with a diving stab and Hehr played it back over the net.
The Chiefs pulled away and trailed just once early on in the fourth set before putting the match away.
Schryver, the team’s other senior captain, led the way with 21 kills, four aces and a block. Hehr added 10 kills.
“Maybe Kennedy didn’t step up as big offensively, but defensively she was insane, and that’s what we needed,” Long said. “It really hasn’t hit me yet that we’re going to sectional finals, but I’m just going to tell everyone we need to practice strong tomorrow and come ready to play.”
Big Foot and Edgewood have not played each other this year. The Chiefs are looking to return to state for the second time in three years.
BRODHEAD 3, MARKESAN 0--The Brodhead High girls volleyball team will play Saturday with the program’s second-ever trip to the WIAA state tournament on the line.
The Cardinals went on the road to sweep Markesan in a Division 3 sectional semifinal on Thursday night, winning 25-19, 25-18, 25-12.
Brodhead senior Carly Mohns blasted 18 kills and had three blocks to lead the Cardinals. Jordan Halvorson had five aces and 12 digs, Payton Wright added five more aces and Kylie Moe dished out 15 assists.
Brodhead, which went to state in 2008, will play Wisconsin Heights at 7 p.m. on Saturday at Mineral Point. Wisconsin Heights beat top-seeded Cuba City in four games Thursday to earn its spot.
EAST TROY 3, CATHOLIC MEMORIAL 0--East Troy’s perfect season continued Thursday night as the Trojans moved to 41-0 with a sectional semifinal sweep.
The Trojans play Kettle Morraine Lutheran on Saturday in a sectional final at Elkhorn. East Troy’s only state-tournament appearance came in 1987.
M.E. Dodge led the Trojans with 15 kills, while Mykie Olsen had 17 digs and Brittney Jakscht racked up 33 assists.